Randy May Family in Hillsboro Oregon

August 27, 2015

Public Assistance, Welfare, Food Stamps, WIC…

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmay4 @ 8:36 am

Wow, with a title like that, how do you react. There are some that immediately jump up and praise the good of welfare and unemployment. Some of you just threw up in your mouth at the thought of it. I react both ways at the same time. I have never been on unemployment. I have usually had more than one job at a time. There was a time when my kids were young that we did qualify for and get food assistance for a few months. If I lost my job today, I would probably have another in a day or so but if I could not, would I be glad for unemployment? Yep I would. But, is there a cost. I tell you there is a cost that most do not realize. I do not talk about the time I was on public assistance much. I never forgot and although it was very limited in size and time frame, mostly milk and diapers, it can change how you (I) feel about your (my) self. It is not fun and I think that it is healthy. I think we should not feel relaxed about this. I found some quotes on the matter that I want to share.


Benjamin Franklin on compassion


“To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity; it is godlike; but, if we provide encouragement for laziness, and supports for folly, may we not be found fighting against the order of God and Nature, which perhaps has appointed want and misery as the proper punishments for, and cautions against, as well as necessary consequences of, idleness and extravagance?  Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good “
Benjamin Franklin (Smyth, writings of Benjamin Franklin, 3:135)

“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. — I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, November 1766

Margaret Thatcher on Entitlements


I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand “I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!” or “I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!” “I am homeless, the Government must house me!” and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations, because there is no such thing as an entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation and it is, I think, one of the tragedies in which many of the benefits we give, which were meant to reassure people that if they were sick or ill there was a safety net and there was help, that many of the benefits which were meant to help people who were unfortunate—“It is all right. We joined together and we have these insurance schemes to look after it”. That was the objective, but somehow there are some people who have been manipulating the system and so some of those help and benefits that were meant to say to people: “All right, if you cannot get a job, you shall have a basic standard of living!” but when people come and say: “But what is the point of working? I can get as much on the dole!” You say: “Look” It is not from the dole. It is your neighbor who is supplying it and if you can earn your own living then really you have a duty to do it and you will feel very much better!”

Interview for Woman’s Own  September 23, 1987

There are many more quotes and lessons from history but the bottom line seems to be that the more is done to relieve poverty, the more it enforces it. Yet, all agree it is good and right to care for the poor. The  question is most often in the defining of what is actually help. What some see as help, others see as damning them instead.
Should I feel bad about being on public assistance? I think I should in a good healthy way. Not in a self focused or self pity filled way. Not in a way that embarrassed at how I might look or appear but that I had to take resources that belonged to others.  In a way that gives me an appreciation that it was there at that time but a determination that I will work and plan and be responsible to not be there again and to also determine to help others and to encourage others to do the same.
Remember public assistance does not come from thin air. It is not from a magical tree that my parents accused of believing that money grew on. It comes from the sweat and blisters and aching back of my neighbor. Think of it as so and treat it as so. Be respectful of the gift. It is not something we are to feel entitled to or deserving of. It is a gift from my neighbor to get me across the bridge to a better time. Repay them by quickly crossing that bridge and taking some other people with me!

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